Simple tips to caribou photography
Caribou are curious yet cautious animals. They’re incredibly agile and move fast. Photographing caribou can provide uniquely stunning photographs - the powerful bull caribou with full antlers in the autumn or the tired and pregnant female caribou migrating in the spring. Stunning images from gorgeous animals.
A few simple tricks for photographing caribou can go a long way:
1) Patience! This can’t be stressed enough. The best photographs come with patience. Be prepared to sit quietly and wait for the caribou to walk past. Do everything you can to not disturb the animal. Walking up to the animal isn’t the best way to capture a photograph. Positioning yourself at a distance will often lead to the caribou walking right past. Your guides will help you position yourself expertly (and stay hidden).
2) Bring extra clothing - sitting quietly and waiting for a caribou to walk past can mean you’re outside in the elements for a decent amout of time. Bring an additional fleece or light down jacket. Caribou can see colours - try dark earthen colours such as greens and dark reds (for the fall tundra).
3) If a caribou walks past you - don’t move! Try using a tripod to setup your camera before the caribou walks past. You’ll only need to look into the camera and snap your photos - minimal movements will ensure you don’t disturb the animal. A great example is this image below - guides Alex & Tessum sat for nearly 30 minutes and witnessed several hundred caribou walking past.
4) A great bag goes a long way - a waterproof pack or bag that you can store your lenses and easily transport while on the move protects your lenses and ensures you’ve got everything you need. Ensuring your camera gear is accessible is one of the most important (and often overlooked) tips. Make sure that bag is easy to open!
5) Final tip before we dive into the best lenses: know your camera! Before your trip, make sure you’ve read the owners manual. You’re familar with the camera, its settings and know how to operate it quickly! Mother nature can present you with incredible moments and at times, they last only minutes! The less time you spend on the settings, the more chances of capturing the moment! Take as many photos as you can - Arctic Haven photographer Nansen Weber will capture thousands of images in a season and choose less than fifty that he is satisfied with.
- Telephoto: larger lenses certainly help. The greater the reach means that you’ll be able to photograph a caribou from a greater distance. A 400mm lens or 600mm lens are great options. For the “amateur-pro”, or serious prefessional the Canon 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM is exceptional. The Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS is also great. Not wanting to spend thousands on lenses? There are great options in the 200mm - 300mm telephoto range for reasonable prices. A 70 - 200mm lens is a great all-round option. Make sure your lens has an image stabilizer. Patience delivers greater results over lens size!
Got questions? We love chatting photography. Send us an email (Mail@WeberArctic.com) or call at +1-819-923-0932.
Our best adventures for caribou photography are the Autumn Discovery Experience - 7 Days & Arctic Spring - Wolverines, Bears and Caribou 6 Days.